Ramaphosa in Qatar to discuss war in Middle East
President and his counterpart Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani will also seek to strengthen trade and investment ties
President Cyril Ramaphosa is on a two-day state visit to Qatar where he and his counterpart, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, will discuss efforts to avoid a further escalation of the Israel-Hamas war.
Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said the talks will also focus on strengthening trade and investment ties.
“During their meeting President Ramaphosa and his highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani are expected to deliberate on geopolitical issues currently impacting the world,” Magwenya said.
“Both parties are committed to enhancing their economic ties and focusing on improving economic relations including trade, investment, and tourism.”
Both governments share deep concern regarding the conflict between Israel and Hamas, notably the unfolding human catastrophe in Palestine, violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law, the large-scale loss of life and ongoing hostilities, especially in Gaza, Magwenya said.
“The leaders will discuss respective efforts to ensure the conflict does not escalate to other parts of the region and that a peaceful resolution is found,” he added
SA has welcomed Qatar’s mediation efforts in the crisis.
When he arrived on Tuesday evening, Ramaphosa was welcomed by Qatar’s state minister of foreign affairs Soltan bin Saad-al Muraikhi, international relations minister Naledi Pandor and SA ambassador to Qatar Ghulam Asmal at Hammad International Airport in Doha.
The visit occurs in the context of three decades of diplomatic relations between the two countries. They will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations on May 11 2024.
Magwenya said last year Qatar became SA’s fifth-largest trading partner in the Middle East.
“There is significant potential for further economic co-operation between the two countries. SA exported $206m (R3.7bn) worth of trade to Qatar in 2022.
“The bulk of exports were in the manufacturing sector, accounting for about 56% of total exports. SA has witnessed a surge in its imports from Qatar between 2017 and 2022, primarily due to the import of petroleum oils,” he said.
SA imports from Qatar amounted to $252m in 2022, he said.
Ramaphosa will be joined by a business delegation and is expected to engage the Qatari business community to explore opportunities for co-operation in areas such as the creative industries, energy, mining, agro-processing, retail, healthcare, tourism and ship building.
“SA is a significant investor in Qatar, especially in the petrochemical-related sector, with a total investment of approximately $8.7bn.”
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